Microsoft Australia plans to offer local developers the chance to sample preview versions of Visual Studio 2005 as early as next month.
Microsoft announced that a technical preview of the software will be available to attendees of the Microsoft Mobile Developers Conference in Sydney scheduled for April 20 and this year's VSLive, SpeechTEK events.
MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) subscribers have had access to the the technical preview of the software — formerly code-named "Whidbey" — since October last year, but today's announcement marks the first time that the wider developer community will get a peek at the company's flagship development tool.
The software giant recently said it would delay the full release of Visual Studio 2005 until the first half of 2005.
Until recently, Microsoft had said that it would ship the new version by the end of this year, and cited "quality requirements" as the reason for the delay.
Microsoft has been pushing ahead with its campaign to win mindshare in the developer community on other fronts. It recently invited developers to compete for US$25,000 worth of cash prizes in a competition focusing on its soon-to-be-released in Australia, BizTalk Server 2004.
First prize attracts a US$15,000 cash reward.
A free download of BizTalk Server 2004 has been made available for the competition, which should make the winners happy with what they've saved. It's expected to carry price tags starting at US$999 for partners and US$7,000 for the standard edition. The enterprise edition carries a hefty US$24,000 price tag.
Full details of the competition can be found at Scott Woodgate's blog.